Monday, January 2, 2012

Books in 2011

It's been customary at the end of each year to mention the books I managed to complete in the year just past. Several of them were books I read for the second time, most of them are worth reading a second time, and some, perhaps, were not worth reading the first time.

Naturalism (Goetz and Taliaferro): A good critique of metaphysical naturalism, the view that the natural world is all there is. There is no God or anything like God.

The Amish Way (Donald Kraybill et al.): A wonderful look at Amish life and belief.

Saving Leonardo (Nancy Pearcey): Pearcey takes the reader on a walk through the history of Western culture and how naturalism has changed it for the worse.

The Little Prince (Antoine Saint de Exupery): The classic children's allegory written for adults.

What Went Wrong (Bernard Lewis): Islam scholar Lewis writes about why Islam lost the glory it achieved in the Middle Ages.

Crisis in Islam (Bernard Lewis): Lewis talks about the struggle in Islam between the hard-core fundamentalists and the more moderate faction that wants to liberalize Islam.

The Existence of God (Richard Swinburne): Swinburne's is one of the most often cited arguments for the existence of God in contemporary philosophy of religion.

The Good Life (Chuck Colson): By means of fascinating vignettes Colson illustrates the relative emptiness of contemporary secular life.

The Unlikely Disciple (Kevin Roose): An amusing account of a young atheist (Roose) who enrolls at Liberty University to research a book about Christian fundamentalism. He's surprised by what he finds.

Information and the Nature of Reality (Paul Davies): One of the top science writers discusses how the world revealed by science is more a world of information than of matter.

Middlemarch (George Eliot): Famous novel of gentry life in mid-19th century England.

The Goldilocks Enigma (Paul Davies): Cosmologist Paul Davis writes about the puzzle posed to science by the fine-tuning of the cosmos and the different solutions to the puzzle that have been proffered by scientists and philosophers.

For the Glory of God (Rodney Stark): An excellent history of the impact of Christianity on pre-Enlightenment Europe. Along the way Stark debunks a lot of commonly held myths.

The iY Generation (Tim Elmore): Elmore discuss how technology makes the current generation of young people different.

Atheist Delusions (David B. Hart): A well-crafted response to the New Atheists, specifically Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.

Generous Justice (Tim Keller): Keller is a Manhattan pastor who writes in this book of the church's call to do justice in our communities and the world.

Philosophical Investigations (Louis Pojman): An introductory textbook in philosophy by one of the most prolific writers of philosophy books.

Silenced (Marshall and Shea): A deeply disturbing and important account of the tyranny and crimes committed by Muslim majorities against religious minorities throughout the Muslim world.

Fed Up (Rick Perry): Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry lays out his political views.

Fathers and Sons (Turgenev): !9th century Russian novel about two young men and their families.

Killing Lincoln (O'Reilly and Dugard): A captivating account of the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It's a page turner.

Throw Them All Out (Peter Schweizer): Schweizer explains how politicians use their office and power to enrich themselves and their friends. The title is apt.

You Lost Me (David Kinnaman): Kinnaman is president of the Barna Group which researches issues in contemporary religion. He records here the stories of young people who have grown up in the church and subsequently left it.